As businesses become more digitized with every passing year, the need for all the departments to be on the same plane becomes extremely important and hence the need to have a robust enterprise grade collaboration or social platform surges.
According to Gaurav Sharma, research manager, enterprise computing, IDC India, in this digitally disruptive era, collaborative platforms are changing the way people interact, share knowledge, create or co-create innovative products and engage with people and internal stakeholders and so he believes that such platforms are more than “a set of emails amongst individuals.”
Today, CIOs are doing their best to provide their enterprises with collaboration platforms that can actually have positive business impact, but having said that there are few patches that needs to be addressed as we enter 2016.
“Enterprise grade collaboration with right mix of tools becomes highly productive for any organization. It brings an unprecedented change in a way people interface internally and externally, take decisions or do all kinds of business related interactions,” says Sanjeev Kumar, director & CIO, ApOn India.
According to Subramanyam Putrevu, CIO, Mindtree, a significant reason why enterprise social or collaboration platforms will ride up the demand curve is because of the fact that enterprises today are disparate by nature.
“Today enterprises are very distributed. For instance we have offices located in different continents and different locations across these continents. If I need to have people come together and work on an idea or any assignment it is imperative to have a robust collaboration platform,” Putrevu says.
A right mix of certain tools and more importantly security also plays a key role when it comes to deploying collaboration platforms. “Security is a major thing here. Hence the need for enterprise grade. When you are in an enterprise and have a collaboration platform where you are exchanging your thoughts and ideas then it is must for us to see that the information is not leaked and is very secure,” Putrevu says.
Enterprise collaboration platforms have the potential to shift the way an organization taps into mass innovation, however, Gaurav feels that it is important to understand what level of collaborative platform is required by the organization to balance cost of setting up (critical mass) versus intended ROI that is expected.
Enterprises that encourage teamwork will be the ones to adapt high end collaboration platforms but CIOs before rolling out a social platform, must be very clear on what they want to achieve or in other words what are the challenges they want address by collaborating.
The success of a collaboration platform also depends to what extent one can customize that particular solution according to the nature and vertical of an organization, this boils down to selecting the right tools for your platform. Even better if it can be customized based on job roles and responsibilities.
Taking about right tools in a collaboration platform, Kumar points out that a “right mix” should include emailing, IP calls, video calls, IM, workflows and sites, planner, storage, BI integration, easy interfaces with underlying technologies like enterprise VC system, ERP system, cloud applications, HR ( people related ) applications, with compliance and security.
Also, Kumar adds that if enterprise grade collaboration pack is not properly internalized by imparting adequate awareness to all the effected employees, it becomes self-damaging too like an “action of a double edged sword”.
“A right mix also means how are collaboration tools deployed based on job roles of people? How people are using it under RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed) matrix clarity? Else people get mails and information those are not relevant to them in any of RACI ‘cross-point’ and as a result cascading productivity loss happens and hardly any time-bandwidth remains to take up innovative assignments,” Kumar adds.
In a nutshell inorder to deploy a robust enterprise collaboration or social platform it is crucial that CIOs go deep and understand what is desired from a particular solution, address security concerns and more importantly ensure its popularity among employees.